As we climbed aboard the Sea Dog IV, we felt giddy with excitement. This was our first boat tour ever on the Atlantic Coast of Canada, and we were going out to view one of Nova Scotia’s most iconic landmarks, Peggys Cove.
But there are so many more things to do in Peggy’s Cove than to simply marvel at this beautiful site. If you are planning to visit this picturesque fishing village just 30 minutes from Halifax, make sure to spend longer than just a day.
Things to do in Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia
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Peggy’s Cove is a magical timeless destination where one could rent a cottage for the summer and slow down to enjoy Canada’s coastal playground. But Peggy’s Cove can be overrun with tourists welcoming more than 700,000 visitors per year. People come from around the world to see Nova Scotia’s top tourist attraction.
So we suggest visiting Peggy’s Cove at sunrise and sunset when the crowds disappear and you feel as though you have it all to yourself. Since you are staying overnight for sunrise, check out out all the things to do at Peggy’s Cove in two days.
- Great news: Peggy’s Cove is the first is the first tourism destination in Atlantic Canada to achieve and “Accessibility Certified Gold’ rating under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification. There is a range of accessible features from sidewalks and parking lots being transformed to enable visitors of all abilities to an accessible viewing platform.
About Peggy’s Cove
Peggy’s Cove epitomizes the life and history of Atlantic Canada. Legend has it that Peggy’s Cove was named after a shipwreck survivor named Peggy. She was the sole survivor of a wreck and as she settled in a married a local fisherman, she became known as Peggy of the Cove.
This small village was founded in 1811 when 6 families were granted 800 acres. Today, Peggy’s Cove is still a working fishing village with lobster boats moored in the harbour where colourful wooden houses line the tiny inlet.
But the fishing culture of Peggy’s Cove is a dying breed. Corporations are buying up fishing licenses from retiring fishermen and the younger generation is seeking new and exciting lives in the cities. The youngest age of the fishermen in Peggy’s Cove in 50 years old!
If you are up for it, Captain Peter, even lets you take a spin at the wheel when we are safely in a quiet bay. The tour is peaceful, informative and entertaining. Plus exploring the islands and nearby harbours is something that shouldn’t be missed. It’s worth getting out on the water to explore the coastline and view the different island formations and neighboring villages of Peggy’s Cove.
Peggy’s Cove Boat Tours
If you do visit Peggy’s Cove in the afternoon, a fun way to avoid the crowds is to hop on a Peggy’s Cove Boat Tour. It’s interesting to see the lighthouse and shoreline from this perspective.
There is only one tour company that offers boat tours and you can book in advance or see if you can hop on a tour at the last minute. They leave port two to five times each day during peak season.
The first thing you see once you leave the harbour is the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse. As you sail by, the Captain sounds the horn letting everyone at the lighthouse know just how much fun you are having.
The tour then takes you through the beautiful homes and plots of land with private beaches in the nearby inlet of West Dove. This area shows the prosperity the fishing industry brought to these parts.
- See Peggy’s Cove Boat Tours for more details.
Kayaking at Lower Prospect Point
Kayaking at Lower Prospect Point was our first time kayaking on the East Coast of Canada and we loved it! Most people think of kayaking on the Bay of Fundy when visiting Nova Scotia, but the east coast has incredible scenery and quiet coves to explore on all coasts.
Kayaking at Lower Prospect is the perfect introduction to sea kayaking as the water is calm and the bay is protected. We mostly paddled through protected coves, but our Krista said that she always likes to take people out to the sea and do some challenging crossings to introduce them to a bit of adventure.
If people only paddled smooth water, they wouldn’t have respect for the power of the ocean. This way they can feel the sea’s strength in a controlled environment. Kayaking at Lower Prospect is an excellent day trip from Peggy’s Cove or Halifax and you can book 4 hours tours with East Coast Outfitters.
Visit the Swiss Air Memorial
Located just outside of Peggy’s Cove is the Swiss Air monument dedicated to the 229 people who lost their lives in the Swiss Air bombing of 1998. The crash happened just 8 km (5miles) off the coast of Peggy’s Coves. This monument is dedicated to the victims and the rescue workers who worked tirelessly help clean up the wreckage and search for survivors.
Walk to Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse at Sunrise
Flocks of tourists and tour buses stop to see the lighthouse all day long. But if you stay over at Peggy’s Cove and go to the lighthouse for sunrise you will have it all to yourself. Look for pools of water reflecting the lighthouse in the glistening sun and enjoy exploring the unique rock formations. It’s an experience to walk along the giant rolling formations to view the lighthouse from all different angles.
The unique coast of Peggy’s Cove was carved over thousands of years from retreating glaciers and ocean tides carving patterns into the 400 million-year-old rock. The granite rock as created by molten lava bubbling up from the surface of the earth.
Picture Postcard Views
The 100-year-old Peggy’s Cove lighthouse makes for postcard-perfect photographs. The historic lighthouse rests high above the raging sea where its beacon still acts as a guide for passing ships.
Part of the attraction of Peggy’s Cove is due to hiking along the massive smooth rocks so go for a hike to see it from all angles.
Explore Peggy’s Cove Village
It’s a wonderful afternoon to stroll through the village, searching for local art or ordering a fresh catch of the day off the menu at the Sou’Wester restaurant located right beside the lighthouse. We loved sitting on colorful Adirondack Chairs at the local coffee shop as we basked in the sun listening to visitors rave about the destination and enjoyed shopping in the gift shops for that perfect East Coast souvenir.
Listen to the Bagpipes
Nova Scotia has strong Scottish ties and you just might spy someone playing the bagpipes at Peggy’s Cove when you visit. It is truly a magical moment.
William deGarth Art Gallery
William deGarth was a local artist who moved to Peggy’s Cove from Switzerland. The gallery features 65 pieces by William deGarth starting from his early works as a marine painter and then transitioning to a sculpture.
William deGarth Fsherman’s Monument
Make sure to go behind the museum to see his masterpiece, the Fisherman’s Monument. He carved this monument to dedicating it to the fishermen of Nova Scotia. This 30 meter long (100 feet) piece of granite rock was difficult to carve, and inside you learn all about it.
Eat Lobster at Sou’ Wester
Sou’ Wester is a Peggy’s Cove Institution. Operating in Peggy’s Cove for 50 years, no trip to the lighthouse would be complete without stopping in for some fresh Nova Scotia Seafood. Try the lobster nachos or lobster mac and cheese. If you want something lobster free, the fish tacos are a must.
Dangers of Peggys Cove
Be careful when visiting Peggy’s Cove! Don’t walk too close to the water and never stand on the black rocks. People have lost their lives in Peggy’s Cove by not heeding the warning signs. Rogue waves often come up on shore and have been known to sweep people out to sea.
Many people have died standing too close to the black rocks of Peggy’s Cove. Pay attention to the warning signs and don’t become a Peggy’s Cove casualty.
If you look hard enough, you can find a secluded rock to take in the view away from any care in the world.
Some families have flourished so much, they have bought beautiful homes and plots of land with private beaches in the nearby inlet of West Dover.
Where to Stay at Peggy’s Cove
There are plenty of places to stay near Peggy’s Cove and there’s a beautiful landscape to explore. Take your time at Peggy’s Cove and enjoy! We stayed at Oceanstone Resort located just 5 minutes from Peggy’s Cove.
The beautiful private cottages are perfect for couples or families. With complete kitchens, private fire pits, and beachfront properties, it’s a secluded piece of paradise that you won’t ever want to leave. There’s also a dining room and bakery.
It’s places like this that add to the charm of travel through Nova Scotia. Many of the B&Bs are family run with personal touches added to make you feel at home.
While many people simply spend a couple of hours at Peggy’s Cove, we felt that two solid days wasn’t enough. We could have used another! It’s a timeless destination that lets you feel what life was, and is like for the hard-working families of Nova Scotia.
Read More About Nova Scotia Travel
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